DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 13: Head coach Dave Leitao of the Virginia Cavaliers questions a call by an official during the first half against the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium January 13, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke defeated Virginia 87-65. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Dave Leitao will be named the second head coach in Maine Red Claws history, according to a source with knowledge of the hiring process. Leitao has never coached in the professional ranks, but was last seen guiding the Virginia Cavaliers to a 10-18 record during the 2008-09 NCAA season.
The Red Claws, hiring their second coach since entering the NBA Development League, will announce Leitao's hiring at a press conference on Thursday. The team will be affiliated with the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats and Philadelphia 76ers during the upcoming D-League season.
Leitao's head coaching experience includes stops at Northeastern, DePaul and Virginia, but his start came from being a part of the Jim Calhoun coaching tree. The 51-year-old played for the current Connecticut head coach at Northeastern and then later assisted him with the Huskies on multiple occasions.
Leitao earned All-ACC coaching honors in 2007, but struggled the two seasons after, eventually leading to his agreeing to a $2.1 million buyout according to Jeff Goodman. Goodman also notes that Virginia was one of the league's worst defensive and rebounding teams while eliciting apathy from the fans during his final two seasons as a college basketball coach.
This isn't the first time that Leitao has been courted by the D-League as he was a candidate with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers a couple of seasons ago, but the Houston Rockets ran organization eventually went with the recently-promoted Chris Finch.
According to my sources, the Red Claws also interviewed former Tennessee head caoch Bruce Pearl and current Tulsa 66ers assistant Dale Osborne. Leitao became a candidate when it seemed Pearl would not take the job.